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Retirement savings options

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N'Kenza WhitlowAre you a new(er) employee in public education? If so, you may not have thought about retirement quite yet or are unaware of what to consider. Here is a quick rundown of the retirement savings options available to you as a public school employee in Wisconsin.

Account type
Description Who is eligible
403(b) An employer-sponsored retirement plan (similar to a 401K in the private sector). Contributions may be made on an after-tax and/or pretax basis, depending on the plan available in the district.  Employees of schools and other non-profit organizations. 

Annual contribution limits apply and can change from year to year. Learn more about contribution limits.

IRA  Individual Retirement Account. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made on an after-tax basis, while contributions to a Traditional IRA are made pretax. Anyone with earned income who will not reach age 70 ½ by the end of the year, and those who do not exceed the IRS eligibility requirements. 

Annual contribution limits apply and can change from year to year. Learn more about contribution limits.

WRS  The Wisconsin Retirement System is your pension. It’s a series of monthly payments payable during your lifetime or during a specific period of time—also called an annuity.  Most state of Wisconsin employees, including most public school employees. You and your employer contribute to WRS (50% equally). Contributions are pretax and contribution rates—the amount you contribute—can change each year.

It's helpful to think about saving for retirement as a three-legged stool. One leg is your retirement income from the Wisconsin Retirement System. The second leg is your Social Security Benefit. And the third leg is personal savings through a 403(b) and/or IRA. Imagine trying to sit on that stool without all the legs. It will be difficult because you need all three to stay upright.

As the future of Social Security is somewhat uncertain for younger employees, it's more important than ever to supplement your retirement with personal savings to make up for that uncertainty. While it is never too late to start saving, the earlier the better. Call us to learn more at 1-800-279-4030 or send your questions to


N’Kenza Whitlow, Retirement Savings Consultant